Remote hacker immobilises over 100 cars

Graham Cluley

A 20-year-old man has been arrested in Austin, Texas, after allegedly hacking into a computer system which caused more than 100 cars to be disabled with, in some cases, their horns blaring out repeatedly.

Omar Ramos-Lopez, a former employee of Texas Auto Center, a collection of 4 car dealerships in the Austin area, is suspected of breaking into a web-based immobilisation system called WebTeck Plus that is normally only used if customers are behind in making their payments.

According to a report in Wired magazine, the car dealership had fitted the devices, which are the size of a deck of cards, into vehicles, giving the ability to disable a car’s ignition or trigger the horn if a payment is due.

Thankfully, the cars cannot be disabled while they are in motion.

For five days in the last week of February, more than a 100 customers found themselves without…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, on Mastodon at @[email protected], or drop him an email.